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Saturday, August 31, 2013
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Nidra are quite a young duo from the Russian city of Perm, more than 1,000 km East from Moscow, and 500 km North of the Kazakhstani border, for your geographical information. Vocalist / lyricist Rain and instrumentalist / song composer Cold recorded and released a nameless EP in 2011 via Cvlminis (some of the tracks have been re-arranged for this specific release), and in mean time there is a split with K.M. available as well, being released via Electrica Caelestis, a sub-division of Casus Belli Musica, just like the album this review deals with. I will write and post a review for that collaboration in a near future, in case you might be interested. But first things first…

Actually, кома is the band’s sole full length up till now, produced and mastered via Easy Records with Michail Cidorov, who also performed the synths on this album. And like before, Alexey ‘Root’ Beltyukov took care of the bass parts. The album comes with a 12-page booklet, which includes quite intriguing artwork (design was done by Natalia Drepina), and it includes the lyrics. Since they’re in Russian, I have no idea about the depth of them, but titles that are translated as ‘The Dawn’, ‘Oblivion’ or ‘To The Ones Who Had Gone Before’ do probably not deal with drinking a fresh cocktail on a sunny beach, or celebrating good times…

The duo brings a very atmospheric, bleak and mesmerizing form of Doom / Doom-Death Metal, especially based on grandiose yet hypnotic tremolo riffing, monumentally heavy rhythms and varied vocals (grunts and screams especially, with some (semi) acoustic intermezzi, sharp-edged solos, chilly piano intermezzi and / or bombastic synth-symphonies. There is a lot of variety going on, yet still Nidra did create something quite cohesive, recognizable, with Koma. Quite often, the whole sounds somewhat ‘traditional’, referring to about everything that holds the middle in between My Dying Bride, Samael (and then I am talking about the pre-cosmic era), Katatonia, Emptiness Soul or Bethlehem, and then again, Nidra come with something own-faced, something distinctive. I cannot explain it, I cannot define this band’s uniqueness, for it’s all about the subtleties, those little details that make the difference. But pay attention, for such definition does not necessarily means superiority. Actually, Nidra stand far away from the top, in my modest opinion. A couple of parts are way too goody-goody, then again somewhat predictive. But let’s be honest; within this genre, which nearly convinces anymore (I am still waiting for unique pieces within the majesty à la another The Angel And The Dark River or Stream For The Heavens), an album like this one surely impresses. Not once there is any boredom, the basics are above average, and the whole journey remains interesting, intriguing, attractive. To be honest: I am quite impressed by Nidra’s effort (even their interpretation of Blut Aus Nord’s Procession Of The Dead Clowns is more than acceptable!), and once again it proves the intelligence of Casus Belli Musica and all labels involved.